Alan Culton

Twenty-five years ago, I landed a job installing crown molding in a home. Thinking that I'd need a second pair of hands to handle the long, flimsy material, I hired a helper. But as the job progressed, I noticed that my helper spent much of his time watching me cut the material and fuss with each joint. After that I developed techniques to do the job by myself.

Before I install crown molding, I take a few minutes to make a full-size cross-section drawing. This drawing lets me know how far down the wall to mark for the bottom of the molding, where to mark for any returns required, and how big to make back-up blocks, if needed, for fastening. Although I don't cut my crown in the "nested" position (tilted...

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